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Officials deny Mich. wildfire looting

NEWBERRY, Mich., May 28 (UPI) -- Officials said Monday there's no truth to "rampant" rumors looters are breaking into evacuated homes near the Duck Lake wildfire raging outside Newberry, Mich.

The fire, in its fifth day, has caused fire officials to evacuate about 170 buildings inside the fire perimeter, MLive.com reported.

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokesman Dean Wilson said rumors were circulating the evacuated homes were being broken into after residents were forced to leave.

"But this area is heavily patrolled by law enforcement and there's no evidence of any structures being broken into. The rumors are rampant, but our conservation officers refute them," Wilson said.

A blowout on the south end of the fire required officials to pull ground crews and attempt to contain the blaze from the air. Prior to the blowout, about 51 percent of the 22,204-acre fire had been contained, MLive.com reported.

No update figures were reported.

Since the fire began, at least 95 structures have been destroyed -- including 34 homes or cabins, 22 garages, 20 sheds or outbuildings, 17 camper trailers, one store and one motel.

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